Document Type



Quaternary, glacial deposics, rill, diamicton, erosion surface, pedisediment, paleosols, soil geomorphology


The Klein Quarry, in Johnson County, Iowa, exposes a unique section of Quaternary deposits. The section extends along the axis of a Late-Sangamon erosion surface. It is mantled by Wisconsinan loess: a 4-5m upper increment of Late-Wisconsinan loess and a thin increment (0.2 to 0.5m) of mixed loess and Wisconsinan-age pedisediment ('basal-loess sediments'). Some soil development has taken place in the basal-loess sediments (basal-loess paleosol), and this soil merges with the underlying Late-Sangamon Paleosol. The Late-Sangamon erosion surface is developed on Pre-Illinoian age deposits of the Wolf Creek Formation which include (from top to bottom) an upper basal till (the Aurora Till Member), a thin, laminated diamicton, and an underlying stratified fluvial sequence of sand, silt, and gravel. These overlie till of the Alburnett Formation which is locally preserved in low-relief sags on the underlying bedrock surface of Devonian Cedar Valley Limestone. Sedimentary structures, pebble fabrics, and stratigraphic relations suggest that: the stratified fluvial sequence originated as a proglacial fluvial outwash that evolved into a low-energy slackwater environment; the laminated diamicton was derived from glacial sediments which were resedimented and deposited in this slackwater environment; and this was followed by overriding of glacial ice and deposition of the basal till. The Late-Sangamon erosion surface is marked by a stone line and a relatively thin increment of associated pedisediment which overlies the stone line. Various hillslope components are exposed going down the Late-Sangamon paleohillslope. The erosion surface progressively truncates the Aurora Till Member, the laminated diamicton, and most of the stratified sequence of the Wolf Creek Formation. Properties of the stone line and pedisediment vary in a complex, but systematic way. The characteristics of the stone line and lowermost pedisediment vary downslope directly with textural variations in the different deposits underlying the erosion surface. The uppermost pedisediment, however, shows little relationship to the materials underlying the stone line. The upper, younger pedisediment has resulted from reworking older pedisediment and from transport of sediment from farther upslope. The greater transport distance and reworking results in greater sorting and a less direct relationship to local source materials. The Lare-Sangamon Paleosol formed on this paleohillslope, and is developed in the Late-Sangamon pedisediment, stone line, and the underlying Wolf Creek Formation deposits. Sedimentological variations in the pedisediment affect various paleosol properties. Thickness of the paleosol varies (1.8 to 2.3 m) directly with the thickness of pedisediment, becoming thicker down the paleoslope. The increase in paleosol thickness is also directly matched by an increase in B-horizon thickness. The pedologic and sedimentologic features indicate that the Late-Sangamon erosion surface - pedisediment - paleosol evolved slowly and systematically. Pedisediment muse have accumulated in the lower-slope positions at a slow enough rate that B-horizon soil development kept pace with sediment accumulation.

Publication Date

September 1984

Journal Title

Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science





First Page


Last Page



©1984 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.



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